The New Zealand sharemarket today benefited from a rebound in offshore market sentiment and gave investors a chance to reflect on companies that exceeded expectations in the reporting season.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed was 29.37 points or 0.98 per cent higher at 3036.81. Over the whole market there were 50 rises and 20 falls among the 106 stocks traded. Turnover was worth $96.6 million.

"There was a nice bit of firmness in the overseas markets on Friday night and that has flowed through to the Australasian markets today," said Grant Williamson, a director of Christchurch brokers Hamilton Hindin Greene.

The Dow Jones industrial average had finished Friday up 1.7 per cent, after digesting comments from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke about the Fed's readiness to act if further steps are needed to spur economic recovery. The Australian sharemarket had also gained 1.7 per cent as the New Zealand market closed today.

Mr Williamson said while a lot of investors, particularly in the South Island, awaited an announcement from the Government tomorrow about the future of South Canterbury Finance, the Crown guarantee was in place "so there is good protection for investors, but not much for the taxpayer".

He cited lifts in the prices of Nuplex and Mainfreight shares as encouraging signs for companies that did better than expected with their recent financial results. Nuplex was up 5c to 315 and Mainfreight rose 3c at 665 but was bid 8c higher at the close.

Fletcher Building gained 9c to 761 and Telecom rose 5c to 205, with 21.5 million shares traded, but Contact Energy eased 1c to 566.

Sky City, which today announced a plan to invest up to $250 million in its Adelaide Casino, slipped 1c to 290.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare reversed several days of falls by jumping 9c to 290, with 2.5 million shares changing hands.

- NZPA